[SydPhil] Conference: The Enlightenment and the Development of Philosophical Anthropology

Anik Waldow anik.waldow at sydney.edu.au
Wed Oct 2 09:33:43 AEST 2013

The Enlightenment and the Development of Philosophical Anthropology

The conference focuses on the development of various forms of anthropology in the second half of the eighteenth century, with a special focus on philosophical anthropology, as a distinct discipline that competed with metaphysics, both in scope and aim. The birth of philosophical anthropology in the mid-eighteenth century and its development well into the nineteenth signaled a fundamental shift -- not only did it emphasize the historical character of thought, but it also sought to understand the human being in context, whether biological, cultural-historical, literary or psychological. For this reason, Odo Marquard has termed it one of the “three great epochal shifts” (alongside aesthetics and the philosophy of history) in the history of modern Europe. The main focus will be on the way in which various forms of anthropology, philosophical (Germany) but also medical (France) both contributed to and challenged the notion of “Enlightenment” in Europe. That the European Enlightenment was a contested ground is well known; however, the fact that anthropology played a fundamental role in its orientation remains an understudied topic. Many of the papers will focus on the role that Johann Gottfried Herder played in the development of philosophical anthropology, and in examining the debate between him and his former teacher, Immanuel Kant, this conference will be one of the first to address the ways in which philosophical anthropology developed in relation to the larger project of Enlightenment in Europe.

Dates: 4-6 November 2013
Place: University of Sydney, CCANESA Board Room

Dalia Nassar, Philosophy Department
Anik Waldow, Philosophy Department
Stephen Gaukroger, History and Philosophy of Science Unit

School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry
Sydney Intellectual History Network
ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions



Monday, 4 Nov

9.15-10.30 Peter Anstey, Sydney: The Enlightenment natural history of man

10.30-10.45 Morning tea

10.45-12.00 Charles Wolfe, Ghent: 'Whoever takes man as an object of study must expect to have man as an enemy': the tension between naturalism and anthropocentrism in La Mettrie and Diderot

12.00-1.15 Jennifer Milam, Sydney:
Doggie style: Rococo representations of interspecies sensuality and the pursuit of volupté


2.15-3.30 Stephen Gaukroger, Sydney: The demise of anthropological medicine: the challenges of experimental medicine and Mesmerism


3.45-5.00 Ofer Gal, Sydney:
Anthropology vs. metaphysics: Hobbes and Spinoza on the passions

Tues, 5 Nov

9.15-10.30 Daniela Helbig, Sydney:
Self-positing: experimental subjects in Kant's thought and in scientific practice

10.30-10.45 Morning tea

10.45-12.00 Nigel DeSouza, Ottawa:
Between Leibniz and Kant: the philosophical foundations of Herder's anthropology

12.00-13.15 Anik Waldow, Sydney:
Natural history and the formation of the human being: Kant and Herder on active forces


2.15-3.30 Dalia Nassar, Sydney:
Kant and Herder on analogy

3.30-3.45 Coffee

3.45-5.00 Stefanie Buchenau, Paris:
Herder. From comparative anatomy to philosophical anthropology.

Wed, 6 Nov

9.15-10.30 John Zammito, Rice:
The animal-human boundary and anthropology:  Herder between Reimarus and Tetens

10.30-10.45 Morning tea

10.45-12.00 Kristin Gjesdal, Temple:
Hermeneutics and anthropology in Herder's early thought

12.00-1.15 Gabriel Watts, Sydney:
Herder’s theological anthropology


2.15-3.30 Marion Heinz, Siegen:
On the relationship between metaphysics and anthropology in Herder’s early writings

3.30-3.45 Coffee

3.45-5.00 Michael Forster, Bonn:
Herder’s anthropology and human rights

Dr. Anik Waldow
Senior Lecturer, Department of Philosophy
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Main Quad
University of Sydney, 2006 NSW
email: anik.waldow at sydney.edu.au
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